Philippe Petit

Last updated
Philippe Petit
Petit at the 81st Academy Awards in February 2009
Born (1949-08-13) 13 August 1949 (age 70)
Residence New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation High-wire artist
Spouse(s)Cathy O’Donnell

Philippe Petit (French pronunciation:  [filip pəti] ; born 13 August 1949) is a French high-wire artist who gained fame for his high-wire walk between the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, 1971 as well as his high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, on the morning of 7 August 1974. [1] For his unauthorized feat 400 metres (1,312 feet) above the ground – which he referred to as "le coup" [2] – he rigged a 200-kilogram (440-pound) cable and used a custom-made 8-metre (30-foot) long, 25-kilogram (55-pound) balancing pole. He performed for 45 minutes, making eight passes along the wire. The following week, he celebrated his 25th birthday. All charges were dismissed in exchange for him doing a performance in Central Park for children.

French people are a Romance ethnic group and nation who are identified with the country of France. This connection may be ethnic, legal, historical, or cultural.

Tightrope walking skill involving walking on a thin wire or rope

Tightrope walking, also called funambulism, is the skill of walking along a thin wire or rope. It has a long tradition in various countries and is commonly associated with the circus. Other skills similar to tightrope walking include slack rope walking and slacklining.

World Trade Center (1973–2001) Former skyscraper complex in Manhattan, New York

The original World Trade Center was a large complex of seven buildings in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. It opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. At the time of their completion, the Twin Towers — the original 1 World Trade Center, at 1,368 feet (417 m); and 2 World Trade Center, at 1,362 feet (415.1 m)—were the tallest buildings in the world. Other buildings in the complex included the Marriott World Trade Center, 4 WTC, 5 WTC, 6 WTC, and 7 WTC. The complex contained 13,400,000 square feet (1,240,000 m2) of office space.


Since then, Petit has lived in New York, where he has been artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, also a location of other aerial performances. He has done wire walking as part of official celebrations in New York, across the United States, and in France and other countries, as well as teaching workshops on the art. In 2008, Man on Wire , a documentary directed by James Marsh about Petit's walk between the towers, won numerous awards. He was also the subject of a children's book and an animated adaptation of it, released in 2005. The Walk , a movie based on Petit's walk, was released in September 2015, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit and directed by Robert Zemeckis.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

<i>Man on Wire</i> 2008 documentary film directed by James Marsh

Man on Wire is a 2008 British-American biographical documentary film directed by James Marsh. The film chronicles Philippe Petit's 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center. It is based on Petit's book, To Reach the Clouds, released in paperback with the title Man on Wire. The title of the film is taken from the police report that led to the arrest of Petit, whose performance had lasted for almost one hour. The film is crafted like a heist film, presenting rare footage of the preparations for the event and still photographs of the walk, alongside re-enactments and present-day interviews with the participants, including Barry Greenhouse, an insurance executive who served as the inside man.

James Marsh (director) British film director

James Marsh is a British film and documentary director best known for his work on Man on Wire, which won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, and The Theory of Everything, the multi-award winning biopic of physicist Stephen Hawking released in 2014.

He also became adept at equestrianism, juggling, fencing, carpentry, rock-climbing, and bullfighting. Spurning circuses and their formulaic performances, he created his street persona on the sidewalks of Paris. In the early 1970s, he visited New York City, where he frequently juggled and worked on a slackline in Washington Square Park.

Equestrianism The use of horses for sport or work

Equestrianism, more often known as horse riding or horseback riding, refers to the skill and sport of riding, driving, steeplechasing or vaulting with horses. This broad description includes the use of horses for practical working purposes, transportation, recreational activities, artistic or cultural exercises, and competitive sport.

Juggling circus skill

Juggling is a physical skill, performed by a juggler, involving the manipulation of objects for recreation, entertainment, art or sport. The most recognizable form of juggling is toss juggling. Juggling can be the manipulation of one object or many objects at the same time, most often using one or two hands but also possible with feet. Jugglers often refer to the objects they juggle as props. The most common props are balls, clubs, or rings. Some jugglers use more dramatic objects such as knives, fire torches or chainsaws. The term juggling can also commonly refer to other prop-based manipulation skills, such as diabolo, plate spinning, devil sticks, poi, cigar boxes, contact juggling, hooping, yo-yo, and hat manipulation.

Fencing sport

Fencing is a group of three related combat sports. The three disciplines in modern fencing are the foil, the épée, and the sabre; winning points are made through the contact with an opponent. A fourth discipline, singlestick, appeared in the 1904 Olympics but was dropped after that, and is not a part of modern fencing. Fencing was one of the first sports to be played in the Olympics. Based on the traditional skills of swordsmanship, the modern sport arose at the end of the 19th century, with the Italian school having modified the historical European martial art of classical fencing, and the French school later refining the Italian system. There are three forms of modern fencing, each of which uses a different kind of weapon and has different rules; thus the sport itself is divided into three competitive scenes: foil, épée, and sabre. Most competitive fencers choose to specialize in one weapon only.

Early life

Petit was born in Nemours, Seine-et-Marne, France; his father Edmond Petit was an author and an Army Pilot. At an early age, Petit discovered Magic and juggling. He loved to climb, and at 16, he took his first steps on a tightrope wire. He told a reporter,

Nemours Commune in Île-de-France, France

Nemours is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.

Seine-et-Marne Department of France

Seine-et-Marne is a French department named after the Seine and Marne rivers and located in the Île-de-France region.

An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book or play, and is also considered a writer. More broadly defined, an author is "the person who originated or gave existence to anything" and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created.

Within one year, I taught myself to do all the things you could do on a wire. I learned the backward somersault, the front somersault, the unicycle, the bicycle, the chair on the wire, jumping through hoops. But I thought, "What is the big deal here? It looks almost ugly." So I started to discard those tricks and to reinvent my art. [3]

In June 1971, Petit secretly installed a cable between the two towers of Notre Dame de Paris. On the morning of 26 June 1971, he "juggled balls" and "pranced back and forth" as the crowd below applauded. [4]

World Trade Center walk

Petit became known to New Yorkers in the early 1970s for his frequent tightrope-walking performances and magic shows in the city parks, especially Washington Square Park. Petit's most famous performance was in August 1974, conducted on a wire between the roofs of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, a quarter mile above the ground. The towers were still under construction and had not yet been fully occupied. He performed for 45 minutes, making eight passes along the wire, during which he walked, danced, lay down on the wire, and saluted watchers from a kneeling position. Office workers, construction crews and policemen cheered him on.


Petit conceived his "coup" when he was 18, when he first read about the proposed construction of the Twin Towers and saw drawings of the project in a magazine, which he read in 1968 while sitting at a dentist's office. [5] Petit was seized by the idea of performing there, and began collecting articles on the Towers whenever he could.

What was called the "artistic crime of the century" took Petit six years of planning. During this period, he learned everything he could about the buildings and their construction. In the same period, he began to perform high-wire walking at other famous places. Rigging his wire secretly, he performed as a combination of circus act and public display. In 1971, he performed his first such walk between the towers of the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, [1] while priests were being ordained inside the building. In 1973, he walked a wire rigged between the two north pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, in Sydney, Australia. [6]

In planning for the Twin Towers walk, Petit had to learn how to accommodate such issues as the swaying of the high towers due to wind, which was part of their design; effects of wind and weather on the wire at that height, how to rig a 200 ft (61 m) steel cable across the 138 ft (42 m) gap between the towers (at a height of 1,368 ft (417 m)), and how to gain entry with his collaborators, first to scope out the conditions and lastly, to stage the project. [2] They had to get heavy equipment to the rooftops. He traveled to New York on numerous occasions to make first-hand observations. [1]

Since the towers were still under construction, Petit and one of his collaborators, New York-based photographer Jim Moore, rented a helicopter to take aerial photographs of the buildings. [2] Jean-François and Jean-Louis helped him practice in a field in France, and accompanied him to take part in the final rigging of the project, as well as to photograph it. Francis Brunn, a German juggler, provided financial support for the proposed project and its planning. [7]

Petit and his crew gained entry into the towers several times and hid in upper floors and on the roofs of the unfinished buildings in order to study security measures. They also analyzed the construction and identified places to anchor the wire and cavalletti [ dubious ]. Using his own observations, drawings, and Moore's photographs, Petit constructed a scale model of the towers in order to design the needed rigging for the wire walk.

Working from an ID of an American who worked in the building, Petit made fake identification cards for himself and his collaborators (claiming that they were contractors who were installing an electrified fence on the roof) to gain access to the buildings. Prior to this, Petit had carefully observed the clothes worn by construction workers and the kinds of tools they carried. He also took note of the clothing of office workers so that some of his collaborators could pose as white collar workers. He observed what time the workers arrived and left, so he could determine when he would have roof access.

As the target date of his "coup" approached, he claimed to be a journalist with Metropolis, a French architecture magazine, so that he could gain permission to interview the workers on the roof. The Port Authority allowed Petit to conduct the interviews, which he used as a pretext to make more observations.

On the night of Tuesday, 6 August 1974, Petit and his crew had a lucky break and got a ride in a freight elevator to the 110th floor with their equipment. They stored it 19 steps below the roof. In order to pass the cable across the void, Petit and his crew had settled on using a bow and arrow attached to a rope. They had to practice this many times to perfect their technique. They first shot across a fishing line, which was attached to larger ropes, and finally to the 450-pound steel cable. The team was delayed when the heavy cable sank too fast, and had to be pulled up manually for hours. Petit had already identified points at which to anchor two tiranti (guy lines) to other points to stabilize the cable and keep the swaying of the wire to a minimum. [2]


Shortly after 7 am local time, Petit stepped out on the wire and started to perform. He was 1,350 feet (410 m) above the ground. He performed for 45 minutes, making eight passes along the wire, during which he walked, danced, lay down on the wire, and knelt to salute watchers. Crowds gathered on the streets below. He said later that he could hear their murmuring and cheers.

When NYPD and PAPD officers learned of his stunt, they came up to the roofs of both buildings to try to persuade him to get off the wire. They threatened to pluck him off by helicopter.[ citation needed ] Petit got off when it started to rain.


There was extensive news coverage and public appreciation of Petit's high-wire walk; the district attorney dropped all formal charges of trespassing and other items relating to his walk. [8] In exchange, Petit was required to give a free aerial show for children in Central Park. He performed on a high-wire walk in the Park above Belvedere Lake (known now as Turtle Pond).

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey gave Petit a lifetime pass to the Twin Towers' Observation Deck. He autographed a steel beam close to the point where he began his walk.

Petit's high-wire walk is credited with bringing the Twin Towers much needed attention and even affection, as they initially had been unpopular. [9] [10] Critics such as historian Lewis Mumford had regarded them as ugly and utilitarian in design, and too large a development for the area. The Port Authority was having trouble renting out all of the office space. [9]

Representation in other media

Petit's World Trade Center stunt was the subject of Sandi Sissel's 1984 half-hour documentary, High Wire, which featured music from Philip Glass's Glassworks .

Mordicai Gerstein wrote and illustrated a children's book, The Man Who Walked Between The Towers (2003), which won a Caldecott Medal for his art. It was adapted and produced as an animated short film by the same title, directed by Michael Sporn and released in 2005, which won several awards.

The documentary film Man on Wire (2008) by UK director James Marsh is about Petit and his 1974 WTC performance. It won both the World Cinema Jury and Audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival 2008. It combines historical footage with re-enactment and has the spirit of a heist film. It won awards at the 2008 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina, and the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2009. On stage with Marsh to accept the Oscar award, Petit made a coin vanish in his hands while thanking the Academy "for believing in magic". He balanced the Oscar by its head on his chin to cheers from the audience. [11]

Petit's memoir was also adapted as a biographical drama entitled The Walk (2015), directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit.

Later life

Petit has made dozens of public high-wire performances in his career; in 1986 he re-enacted the crossing of the Niagara River by Blondin for an IMAX film. In 1989, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, mayor Jacques Chirac invited him to walk an inclined wire strung from the ground at the Place du Trocadéro to the second level of the Eiffel Tower, crossing the Seine.

Petit briefly headlined with the Ringling Brothers Circus, but preferred staging his own performances. During his stint with the circus and a practice walk, he suffered his only fall, from 45 feet (14 m), breaking several ribs. He says he has never fallen during a performance. "If I had, I wouldn't be here talking about it." [12]

Petit regularly gives lectures and workshops internationally on a variety of topics and subjects. He single-handedly built a barn in the Catskill Mountains using the methods and tools of 18th-century timber framers. [13] He wrote his eighth book, A Square Peg. He has also created an ebook for TED Books, entitled Cheating the Impossible: Ideas and Recipes from a Rebellious High-Wire Artist. Petit divides his time between New York City, where he is an artist in residence at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, and a hideaway in the Catskill Mountains.

Among those who have associated with some of his projects are such artists as: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Werner Herzog, Annie Leibovitz, Miloš Forman, Volker Schlöndorff, Twyla Tharp, Peter Beard, Marcel Marceau, Paul Auster, Paul Winter, Debra Winger, Robin Williams and Sting.[ citation needed ]

Director James Signorelli assisted with creation of the book To Reach the Clouds (2002), about the Twin Towers walk. [14] Petit not only wrote about his feat, and events that led to the performance, but also expressed his feelings following the September 11 attacks, during which the Twin Towers were destroyed. He wrote that on that morning, "My towers became our towers. I saw them collapse – hurling, crushing thousands of lives. Disbelief preceded sorrow for the obliteration of the buildings, perplexity descended before rage at the unbearable loss of life." [15] Petit paid tribute to those who were killed and supported rebuilding the towers, promising that "When the towers again twin-tickle the clouds, I offer to walk again, to be the expression of the builders' collective voice. Together, we will rejoice in an aerial song of victory." [15] A different complex of buildings has been developed on the site, and does not offer this opportunity.

Legacy and honors

Works and performances

Major high-wire performances

YearWalk [ clarification needed ]LocationNotes
1971Vallauris Vallauris, Alpes-Maritimes, Franceperformance for artist Pablo Picasso's 90th birthday
Notre Dame Cathedral Notre Dame Cathedral
Paris, France
staged walk between towers without permission
1973Sydney Harbour Bridge Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney, Australia
staged walk between towers without permission
1974World Trade Center World Trade Center
New York City, New York, United States
staged walk between towers without permission
Central Park Central Park
New York City
Publicly authorized walk on inclined wire over Turtle Pond
Laon Cathedral Laon Cathedral
Laon, France
performing on wire between the cathedral's two spires for an international television special
1975Louisiana Superdome Louisiana Superdome
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
walk on wire across interior for the opening of the stadium
1982Cathedral of Saint John the Divine Cathedral of Saint John the Divine
New York City, New York, United States
interior walk in height of nave to celebrate renewal of the cathedral's construction following a 40-year hiatus
Concert in the Sky Denver, Colorado, United Stateshigh-wire play directed and produced by Petit for the opening of the World Theatre Festival
1983SkysongPurchase, New York, United Stateshigh-wire play directed and produced by Petit for the opening of "Summerfare," the State University of New York Arts Festival [16]
Centre Georges Pompidou Centre Georges Pompidou
Paris, France
1984Corde Raide-Piano VolantParis, Francehigh-wire play directed and produced by Petit with pop-music singer-songwriter Jacques Higelin
Paris Opera Paris Opera
Paris, France
high-wire improvisation with opera singer Margherita Zimmermann
Museum of the City of New York Museum of the City of New York
New York City, New York, United States
high-wire performance for the opening of the museum's Daring New York exhibit
1986Ascent Cathedral of Saint John the Divine
New York City, New York, United States
concert for grand piano and high wire on an inclined cable above the nave of the cathedral
Lincoln Center Lincoln Center
New York City, New York, United States
high-wire performance for the reopening of the Statue of Liberty
1987Walking the Harp/A Bridge for Peace[ clarification needed ] Jerusalem, Israel high-wire performance on an inclined cable linking the Jewish and Arab quarters for opening of Israel Festival under Jerusalemite Mayor Teddy Kollek
Moondancer Portland Center for the Performing Arts
Portland, Oregon, United States
high-wire opera for the opening of the center
Grand Central Dances Grand Central Terminal
New York City, New York, United States
high-wire choreography on wire set above the interior concourse of the terminal
1988House of the Dead Paris, Francecreation of the role of the eagle in a production of From the House of the Dead (1930), an opera by Leoš Janáček, directed by Volker Schlöndorff
1989Tour Eiffel Paris, Francespectacular walk – for an audience of 250,000 – on an inclined 700-metre (2,300-foot) cable linking the Palais de Chaillot with the second story of the Eiffel Tower, commemorating the French Bicentennial and anniversary of the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen, under Parisian Mayor Jacques Chirac
1990American Overture American Center
Paris, France
high-wire play for the ground-breaking ceremony of the center
Tokyo WalkTokyo, JapanJapan's first high-wire performance, to celebrate the opening of the Plaza Mikado building in Tokyo's Akasaka district [17] [18]
1991Viennalewalk Vienna, Austriahigh-wire performance evoking the history of cinema for the opening of the Vienna International Film Festival, directed by Werner Herzog
1992Namur Namur, Belgiuminclined walk to the Citadel of Vauban for a telethon benefiting children with leukemia
Farinet Funambule!Switzerlandhigh-wire walk portraying the 19th-century Robin Hood of the Alps[ clarification needed ] culminated by harvesting the world's-smallest registered vineyard, to benefit abused children
The Monk's Secret Longing Cathedral of Saint John the Divine
New York City, New York, United States
high-wire performance for the Regents' Dinner, at the centennial celebrations of the cathedral
1994Historischer Hochseillauf Frankfurt, Germanyhistoric high-wire walk on an inclined cable to celebrate the city's 1,200th anniversary, viewed by 500,000 spectators and the subject of a live, nationally broadcast television special
1995Catenary CurveNew York City, New York, United Statesperformance during a conference on suspended structures, led by the architect Santiago Calatrava
1996ACTNew York City, New York, United Statesmedieval performance to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a New York City youth program[ clarification needed ]
Crescendo Cathedral of Saint John the Divine
New York City, New York, United States
theatrical, allegorical New Year's Eve performance on three different wires set in the nave of the cathedral as the farewell tribute to The Very Reverend James Parks Morton, Dean of the Cathedral, and his wife Pamela
1999Millennium Countdown Walk Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History
New York City, New York, United States
Inauguration of the center
2002Arts on the High Wire 11 January 2002 Hammerstein Ballroom
New York City, New York, United States
benefit performance for the New York Arts Recovery Fund on an inclined wire, with clown Bill Irwin and pianist Évelyne Crochet
Crystal Palace Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
New York City, New York, United States
Crossing BroadwayNew York City, New York, United Statesinclined walk, fourteen stories high, for the television talk show the Late Show with David Letterman (performed regularly since 1993)



1983Concert in the SkyDenverCentre Productions, Inc., directed by Mark Elliot
1984High WireNew YorkPrairie Dog Productions, directed by Sandi Sissel
1986 Niagara: Miracles, Myths and Magic Canada Blondin Seventh Man Films for the IMAX System, directed by Kieth Merrill
1989Tour et FilFranceFR3/Totem Productions, directed by Alain Hattet
1991FilmstundeAustriaWerner Herzog Productions, directed by Werner Herzog
1993Profile of Philippe PetitWashington, D.C. National Geographic Explorer Special
1994The Man on the WireGermanyDocumentary of the rigging and artistic preparations for Historischer Hochseillauf, Hessischer Rundfunk Television
1994Historischer HochseillaufGermanyLive broadcast of the walk, Hessischer Rundfunk Television, directed by Sacha Arnz
1995MondoFranceCosta Gavras Productions, directed by Tony Gatlif
1995 Secrets of Lost Empires: The Incas Peru PBS/NOVA and BBC co-production, directed by Michael Barnes
2003The Center of the World of New York City: A Documentary Film, Episode 8: People & Events: Philippe Petit (1948–)New York City PBS
2005 The Man Who Walked Between the Towers USAMichael Sporn Animation and Weston Woods Studios
2008 Man on Wire UK Wall to Wall/Red Box Films, directed by James Marsh, Academy Award winning documentary
2014 Colt 45 FrancePierre
2015 The Walk US3D biographical drama directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit.

In culture

See also

Related Research Articles

George Willig is a mountain-climber from Queens, New York, United States, who climbed the South Tower of the World Trade Center on May 26, 1977, about 2½ years after tightrope walker Philippe Petit walked between the tops of the two towers.

Slacklining Sport similar to tightrope walking

Slacklining refers to the act of walking or balancing along a suspended length of flat webbing that is tensioned between two anchors. Slacklining is similar to slack rope walking and tightrope walking. Slacklines differ from tightwires and tightropes in the type of material used and the amount of tension applied during use. Slacklines are tensioned significantly less than tightropes or tightwires in order to create a dynamic line which will stretch and bounce like a long and narrow trampoline. Tension can be adjusted to suit the user, and different webbing may be used in various circumstances.

Mordicai Gerstein is an American artist, writer, and film director, best known for illustrating and writing children's books. He illustrated the comic mystery fiction series Something Queer is Going On, 1973 to 2003, written by Elizabeth Levy.

The Flying Wallendas is the name of a circus act and daredevil stunt performers, most known for performing highwire acts without a safety net. They were first known as The Great Wallendas, but the current name was coined by the press in the 1940s and has stayed since.

Francis Brunn was a German juggler.

<i>The Man Who Walked Between the Towers</i> book by Mordicai Gerstein

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers is a children's picture book written and illustrated by American Mordicai Gerstein. Published in 2003, the book recounts the heart-stopping achievement of Philippe Petit, a French man who, on an August morning in 1974, walked, lay, knelt and danced on a tightrope wire between the roofs of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, a quarter mile above the ground. Gerstein won the 2004 Caldecott Medal for his illustrations. The book has been adapted to film and ballet.

Owen J. Quinn is an American man who was the first person to successfully parachute off one of the World Trade Center towers, on July 22, 1975.

Michael Sporn was an American animator who founded his New York City-based company, Michael Sporn Animation in 1980, and produced and directed numerous animated TV specials and short spots.

Didier Pasquette Tightrope walker

Didier Pasquette is a noted French tightrope walker.

Richard Henry Kuh was a partner at the law firm of Warshaw Burstein Cohen Schlesinger & Kuh, LLP. He was New York County District Attorney in 1974.

Nik Wallenda American acrobat, aerialist, daredevil, and high wire artist

Nikolas Wallenda is an American acrobat, aerialist, daredevil, high wire artist, and author. He is known for his high-wire performances without a safety net. He holds nine Guinness World Records for various acrobatic feats, but is best known as the first person to walk a tightrope stretched directly over Niagara Falls.

James Ricketson is an Australian film director who, in June 2017, was arrested while flying a drone at a Cambodia National Rescue Party rally in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and charged with espionage, a charge he denies. He was held in Prey Sar prison and his trial began in a Phnom Penh court on 16 August 2018, with character testimony from Australian film director Peter Weir. On 31 August he was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison. It was announced on 21 September 2018 that Cambodian authorities had pardoned Ricketson for the offence.

Jim Moore is an American photographer who has documented the variety arts since the 1970s. His photographs helped Philippe Petit plan his tightrope-walking stunt between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974 and were prominently featured in the Oscar-winning film Man on Wire.

<i>The Walk</i> (2015 film) 2015 film by Robert Zemeckis

The Walk is a 2015 American 3D biographical drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Christopher Browne and Zemeckis. It is based on the story of 24-year-old French high-wire artist Philippe Petit's walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, James Badge Dale, Ben Schwartz and Steve Valentine.

Ivy Baldwin

Ivy Baldwin was an American balloonist, aeronaut and high-wire performer. He is credited with being the first aviator to fly a plane in the state of Nevada, in 1910.He is known for tightroping over south boulder creek in California lore. It!|date=2016|publisher=CreateSpace|isbn=9781940197388|ref=hero|chapter=Ivy Baldwin An Unknown Hero|pages=190–185}}</ref> during the Spanish–American War.


Slackwire is an acrobatic circus act that involves the balancing skills of moving along a flexible, thin wire suspended in the air, connected to two anchor points. Slackwire is not to be confused with slacklining.



  1. 1 2 3 Lichtenstein, Grace (8 August 1974). "Stuntman, Eluding Guards, Walks a Tightrope Between Trade Center Towers". The New York Times . Retrieved 18 April 2008. Combining the cunning of a second-story man with the nerve of an Evel Knievel, a French high-wire artist sneaked past guards at the World Trade center, ran a cable between the tops of its twin towers and tightrope-walked across it yesterday morning.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Marsh, James (Director) (2008). Man on Wire (Documentary).
  3. Tomkins, Calvin, "The Man Who Walks on Air," New Yorker Magazine, 1999, excerpted in Life Story, by David Remnick, Modern Library Paperback edition, 2001.
  4. "Sneaky Juggler Has Ball Up In Sky At Notre Dame". The Ogden-Standard Examiner (AP story). 27 June 1971. p. 1.
  5. "New York: The Center of the World". American Experience. PBS/WGBH.
  6. Man On Wire DVD, "Philippe Petit's Sydney Harbor Bridge Crossing" bonus feature.
  7. Higginbotham, Adam (19 January 2003). "The second part of Philippe Petit's story". The Guardian. London.
  8. Lichtenstein, Grace (8 August 1974). "Stuntman, Eluding Guards, Walks a Tightrope Between Trade Center Towers". The New York Times . Retrieved 31 October 2010.
  9. 1 2 "Before & After; Talking of the Towers" The New York Times .
  10. Kilgannon, Corey (7 August 2005). "Tightrope Walk Between Twin Towers Is Recalled". The New York Times.
  11. kingkongphoto123 (22 February 2009). "My hero Phillipe Petit wins Oscar". YouTube . Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  12. Adam Higginbotham, "Touching the Void", The Observer,19 January 2003
  13. "The House That Came Wired". 22 March 2013 via Wall Street Journal.
  14. To Reach the Clouds: My High Wire Walk Between the Twin Towers – Philippe Petit – Google Books. 4 September 2002. ISBN   9781429921862 . Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  15. 1 2 To Reach the Clouds: My High Wire Walk Between the Twin Towers – Philippe Petit – Google Books. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  16. ROBERT SHERMAN, "FESTIVALS ENDING", New York Times, 7 August 1993
  17. "Edward Suzuki Profile". Archived from the original on 6 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  18. "Press Material – Philippe Petit" (PDF). Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  20. "27 – Man On Wire (Re-Wire)". YouTube. 7 August 1974. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  21. "sleepwalking_lyrics". Ste van Holm. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  22. Jackson, Dan (8 April 2011). "Low Anthem's Circus High-Wire Act". Spin . Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  23. Gotrich, Lars. "Cormorant: Follow the Blackened Thread". NPR Music. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  25. "Best Cover Contest 2007 Winners & Finalists – ASME".

Further reading

Articles and interviews